Jeff Fisher (left) sits down with Gil Brandt (center) and Alex Marvez
Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher insists he won’t give in to the overwhelming pressure that goes with making a quarterback the top overall pick of the draft.
Play him now! That’s the directive fans, media and pretty much everyone else will scream in his direction about what to do with Jared Goff.
“Each and every situation’s different,” Fisher told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Rams’ training camp in Irvine, Calif. “You can’t open a book and say, ‘How to develop a rookie quarterback.’ It doesn’t happen. They’re all different.
“I think the most important thing from Jared’s standpoint is just reps and experience. Nobody’s going to put a drop-dead deadline on it or say, ‘Hey, he’s going to be ready here, he’s going start there.’ We’re just going to develop him. You want to set him up so he doesn’t fail.”
Fisher is a student of football history. And history says that quarterbacks selected at or near the top of the NFL Draft struggle as rookies. Sometimes very badly, including those who have gone onto Hall-of-Fame-level careers.
“The position is very, very difficult to play,” Fisher said. “You look back over history at the top picks, the top five first-round picks that have gotten opportunities. The first year was tough on them. It’s tough on them, so you want to play him when he’s ready.
“And when that is, I can’t tell you right now, and I think that’s the best way to answer, ‘When’s Jared going to play?’ Well, he’s going to play when we think he’s ready.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Todd Gurley leaned on Rams’ teammates to avoid ‘rookie wall’
If anyone in the NFL is qualified to discuss ways to avoid hitting the dreaded “rookie wall,” Todd Gurley is that player.
Not only did he rush for more than 1,000 yards in his first year in the league in last season, he did so in 13 games, two of which he missed while still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in college.
As Gurley explained to Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Rams’ training camp in Irvine, Calif., the support of his teammates went a long away toward helping to gear himself mentally to steer clear of any decline in his performance.
“You hear the stories about the rookie wall, so you kind of have your mindset made up that you’re not going to let that happen to you,” Gurley said. “And then, just your teammates being around. That’s all I care about, just being around my teammates, having fun at practicing. I’ll stay up just by that and be positive.
“I try not to have a down day. My teammates ain’t going to let me have a down day, because they’re like, ‘I don’t care if you’re mad.’ Then I’ve got to start laughing and joking. So I just try to keep the energy positive and just keep going every day. Because you’re not going to like to do half the stuff, but, hey, it’s your job.”
NFL Training Camp Tour: Richardson says Jets must handle game situations ‘a whole lot better’
Calling it “Camp Regret” would be an overstatement, but the New York Jets have done their share of lamenting this summer as they begin preparing for the 2016 season.
“We let a few games slip by, one that mattered,” defensive end Sheldon Richardson told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller at the Jets’ Florham Park, N.J., training camp.
The “one that mattered” was the season-finale against the Buffalo Bills that knocked the Jets out of the playoffs.
“We’ve got a defense that’s got to start faster and an offense that’s got to close better,” Richardson said. “That’s one thing Coach (Todd) Bowles has said. Handling game situations a whole lot better, but right now, we most definitely are not looking back.”
No, Richardson and his teammates are looking forward to the chance to compete for a championship. They see themselves in win-now mode. And, for Richardson, the best examples of what the Jets’ defensive line wants to look like this season can be found by watching video of Super Bowl 50.
Denver and Carolina set the standard for exceptional play up front.
“Going back and looking at the Super Bowl, looking at that defensive line on both sides of the ball, how those guys were controlling the game,” Richardson said. “We’ve got to do that a whole lot more as far as consistent pass rush. But you know, in this league, they run the ball a lot, too.”
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